Sunday, July 29, 2007

For the ladies

Originally uploaded by lorddarkryder
Found this on the rss feed from Warren Ellis' blog. I thought Ragnell and Kalinara would enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kneel Before Zod

Ok, so, I just watched Superman II for the first time ever. I just want to know why it took me so long to finally see it. This movie is amazing.

True, it does suffer from the usual faults of a movie from the 70's/80's with the sometimes crappy acting and goofy dialogue. Hell, a lot of the plot is rather goofy anyhow. But, man do the effects stand up to the test of time. Even in today's world of CG everything, I was impressed with some of the effects. The lunar scene in particular really had me excited.

I also loved the attention to detail, like when Superman reflects Zod's heat vision back at him. The sign behind Zod not only became scorched, but left a general outline of his body on it. That's something I wasn't expecting, especially after the goofy fight under the street (one of many moments I was laughing at the film and not with it).

My only real issue is the crazy assed powers. Telekinesis? Teleportation? Holographic doubles? Amnesia kiss? Cling wrap "S" logo? Where the hell did those come from, and what were the filmmakers smoking when they came up with those?

Also, how the hell did Clark get repowered after "permanently" losing his powers for Lois?

Anyhow, complaints aside, I really loved this movie. I see now why Superman I and II are considered great, and were canon for Superman Returns, but III and IV were sort of forgotten. Well, except the red kryptonite in Superman III. That was kind of fun.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Comics of the Week

Got my comics Thursday. What day s it now? Started to review as I read. Here we go...

The Weapon 2: I dunno. On the one hand, this had some very cinematic fighting in it. On the other, there wasn't much of the fight. At least, not enough to make me feel this was kick ass. Still a decent read.

The Darkness Level 5: The end of the retelling of the origin of the Darkness. Makes me want to play the game when it is finally released. Nothing new or exciting here. Just some fun mafia killing and demons. Actually, that is pretty exciting when I say it out loud. Rock!

Lenore 13: Oh my god, I always forget how fucking crazy funny this comic is. With only one new issue a year on average, it is easy to forget. I wish this was at least a bimonthly comic so I could get my fix more regularly. Then again, working at that pace may tire Mr. Dirge out, and then we would be left with sub par work. I hate conundrums like that.

Green Lantern 18, 19, 20: Nothing to say here, other than to note I finally picked up the back issues of this with the Sinestro Corps stuff in it.All those back-up stories were fun, and the main story was interesting enough to get me thinking.

All Flash 1: A sort of wrap up to the last series and reintroduction to the return of the original series. Didn't like the various art styles in the book. I like my comics to have one artist per story, than you kindly. Also, not much of anything interesting in this other than the fate of Inertia. I will likely continue to buy the Flash comics for a little while longer. I just with Bart wasn't dead. He was my favorite Flash related character.

The Spirit 8: I have said it before and I will say it again. I love comics that are "done in one" and still maintain a bit of continuity. This issue does that, with the return of an old friend and an old foe. Some of the amnesia stuff with Satin was a little stupid (not knowing the word for "eyes" or "mask"? C'mon already). I did, however, like the way it ended. Stupid of a solution as it was, it somehow worked for me. Plus, the Spirit getting hit by two ladies was funny.

Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four 26:
All-ages Galactus? Hell's yeah. Even better, this issue managed to retell the Galactus story in fewer issues than Lee/Kirby did, without the Watcher, and without the Ultimate Nullifier. Reed's idea to defeat Galactus was awesome, and the story ended up with the same result. Brilliant.

Mystic Arcana: Black Knight: The origin of the Black Knight. This was a nice bit of Arthurian legend with some Marvel craziness thrown in. I quite enjoyed the story. Not really a huge fan of the Ian McNee story stuff from this one, but have to admit liking his arrogance and determination. Looking forward to the next two issues in this series. Scarlet Witch next. Woohoo.

Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK's Eleven 1: Ocean's Eleven meets lame super villains. Decent start, but I reserve judgement for later on in the series.

The Order 1:
I dunno. I was really not impressed with this one. Somehow, when I read the initial idea behind this, I expected it to have existing characters on the team. People like Wonder Man and Dazzler, you know. Existing heroes who were also celebrities. Not this team of nobodies who are given limited duration powers. The idea of a cycling team is cool, like Exiles should have done more. Also a bit disappointed in how Pepper Potts was portrayed. Kind of skanky to be hitting on a dude this soon after being widowed.

Thunderbolts: Desperate Measures: Meh.

The Initiative 4: MVP? Back from the dead? A clone maybe? I dunno what is happening there, other than MVP may be back. Which kicks ass, as I liked the character a lot. Also, Trauma on a "black ops" Initiative team. An explanation for why the nano power inhibitors didn't work on the Hulk. This comic is getting better and better. I just wish they would stop using the term "New Warrior" as if it were an insult. That's just crap.

Annihilation: COnquest Quasar 1: Phyla-Vell's mom is a bitch. Super-Adaptoid is awesomeness incarnate. Liking this mini so far.

Captain America 28: The plot thickens, and I can't wait to see what happens. All of this build to something huge, and it feels like that something is just around the corner. Dunno how much of this was planned from the start, but I am willing to give Brubaker a lot of credit for it regardless. If it was planned out from the beginning, that kicks ass. If it was a fairly recent idea, he has done a great job of making it seem like a long distance plan. Either way, Captain America rocks. Even if Cap is dead.

Ultimate Spider-Man 111: Talking heads. Lots of talking heads. Not really the best issue to have Bagley go out on. A shame he is leaving too. I can get why, but it will still be sad to see him go. Still, love this series.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Almost Nearly On Time

Last week I was actually going to post mostly on time for once. I had a large part of my pull list on time. Not all of my pull list, as I was a little early and had no patience to wait. I was going to review what I had and finish up with the rest this week with this weeks comics. Instead, i am doing last weeks tonight and this weeks sometime later (hopefully tomorrow). Oh, and just to be completely out of whack, I also have a comic I read previously and finally decided to buy in the mix as well. Now, on with the reviews. Probably shorter than normal, as it is sleepy time.

The Tick Comic Com Extravaganza: Holy hell, but I love the Tick. This was like every comic/sci-fi/gaming convention I have ever been to. With more fighting. Fun stuff.

Fables 63: Planning for the war. Redemption for Flycatcher. The return (somewhat) of Bluebeard. Mayor Charming is turning out to be quite effective in this role, which is a total shock. I was expecting a massive failure, instead of this actual good leader. What a nice surprise.

Stormwatch PHD 9: Lots of talking, little action. Disappointing resolution. This issue was ok, I guess.

Madman 3: Now, this is what I am talking about. I love me some Mike Allred writing. I love me some Mike Allred art even more. He's the reason I bought X-Statix back in the day. Anyhow, this shit is trippy. Existential and whacked out in a acid trip gone oh-so-right sort of way. I also love how each issue recaps the last by showing the entire previous issue on a single page in thumbnail. What a great idea. This issue is even more cool for the mass of comic homages Allred tosses in. Stunning.

Shadowpact 15: Um, I don't even remember what all happened in this one. Blue Devil talking with his family in Hell and some Doctor Gotham stuff. Apparently, not very great since I forget the whole thing beyond that.

Green Lantern 21: I bought this solely because it is Sinestro Corps stuff. That is how cool this idea is. It has me buying some comic I wouldn't normally care about to read the whole story. Still need to go back and get all of the back issues for Tales of the Sinestro Corps. This was a decent second chapter of the story arc. More set up before the meat of the story.

Annihilation: Conquest Prologue: I read this when it came out, but didn't initially buy it. After thinking on how much I liked this, and how much I was beating myself up over missing the first Annihilation event (since remedied with the 3 hardcovers), I decided I might as well get this. I love the Phalanx, and saw that one coming as soon as the Space Knights acted strange. Can't wait for the rest of this event.

Annihilation: Conquest Wraith 1: I am so confused, yet so intrigued by this. Haven't actually read the Annihilation stuff I have yet, so don't know how much that will clear things up. As I never really got into the big space stuff from Marvel, I have little idea what I need to read to know what the hell is happening.

Nova 4: Fun stuff. Pretty art. Great ending. Not much more to say.

The New Avengers 32: What the hell was this crap? An entire issue of playing "Who's a Skrull" on a plane, followed by a crash. No cool action. Nothing that makes this issue mean anything to me. Still hate the art. In fact, the art is so bad in this, I spent half the issue mistaking Ronin for Iron Fist. Hopefully this will get interesting again soon.

X-Factor 21: Another comic that was pretty much just a slow build. Unlike the New Avengers, though, this was actually a good read. Peter David is a master of snappy dialogue and fun characterization. On top of all that, he ties in with plot threads that have been around for a while, and makes them remain interesting and viable throughout that time.

Ultimatre X-Men 84: Bishop does some more team building. We get the return of the Fenris twins (why?). Some badass Sentinel stuff. Ultimate Stryfe. The return of Psylocke. Still not completely trusting Bishop. Though, i have to admit, training Dazzler to improve her abilities is kind of nifty.

That Unlucky Day

So, i have recently managed to find the time to watch the entire Friday the 13th movie series. Well, to be fair, I have seen the first 9 movies plus the edited for cable version of Jason X. I have Freddy vs. Jason queued up, but will not be watching that until I get through the entire Nightmare on Elm Street series (which I have all of and have seen the first two). Here are my thoughts on these movies.

Friday the 13th: The original slasher film. It's old, and looks old. But, it is still pretty damned good. Sets the stage for a decent story, and has some of the coolest deaths I have ever seen in a film. Even after watching how they did the arrow through the neck thing, I am still in awe of it. Plays with you at the end with a couple really great twists. Plus, Kevin Bacon.

Friday the 13th Part 2: This one takes place about five years later. It builds on the original nicely. They take the last remaining plots threads of the original and tie them up within the first few minutes of this movie. More interesting deaths and some great effects. I like the inclusion of some psychology and the dude in the wheelchair (though I felt bad he didn't get some before he died). A very worthy sequel.

Friday the 13th Part 3-D: Just to be fair, I will note that this was supposed to be shown in 3-D, but that was not able to be transferred to DVD properly. There are the obvious 3-D gags of the stick/snake/eyeball/etc coming directly at the screen. By the standards of 1982 I am sure it was amazing. By today's standards, where 3-D isn't really all that cool anymore, it was just silly. The plot of this movie takes place the day after Part 2. More campers, more gruesome death. The first appearance of the hockey mask, which is really quite interesting. There is a lame attempt to connect the heroine with Jason, but the movie would have been fine without that. Still a good flick.

Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter: Again, the day after the last one. This puts Jason's spree up to 3 days and two near-deaths. Dude just doesn't give up. Here we have some great strangeness. Twins. Marty McFly. That dude from The Last American Virgin. Corey Feldman as a creepy geeky kid. Vintage porn. Boobs and death. Loved the corkscrew bit. Loved the ending, where it is happy and creepy and gory and ominous all at once. Would have been a great end to a great series of movies.

Friday the 13th Part V - A New Beginning: Opens up with a nice creepy scene of Corey Feldman being stalked by Jason. Then he wakes up older and as a different actor. Lots of crazy people. Death by garden shears. Annoying fat kid gets what we all think he deserves. Girl doing "The Robot" before dying. Annoying black stereotypes getting killed. Nice ending that doesn't detract from the death of Jason. Ending is telegraphed a bit, but they do try to fake you out a bit. Also a nice post-ending ending. They should have stopped here.

Friday the 13th Part VI - Jason Lives: Oh. My. God. This one was so bad it's not even good in a bad way. Really unbelievable compared to the earlier movies. Too much comedy, not enough stabby-stabby. Granted, the comedy is quite funny. Would have worked as a Scream movie, but not as a Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th Part VII - The New Blood: This is one of the two movies in the series that I think may actually have been a decent movie if they had gone on their own, instead of tying in with Jason. We get the flashback of a girl accidentally killing her dad with her psychic powers. We get the asshole doctor trying to cash in on her power. We get the mom who doesn't know what the hell is going on. Next door are the partying kids all good slasher movies need. The slashing is good. The psychic is good. the story is about as good as an 80's slasher flick gets. The Jason makeup is idiotic, but I get where the director was going with it.

Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan: More like Jason Takes a Cruise Ship. I saw an interview with the director where he mentions the budget limitations that caused the increase of boat scenes and decrease of New York scenes. A shame, since the original locations might have made for a fun movie. Another lame attempt at tying the protagonist in with Jason. Unneeded and unwanted. Couple of the deaths are cool. Too much humor again, though not as bad as Part 6. The toxic waste tot he face was a cool effect. What the hell was up with the ending, though? That was just dumb, mildly confusing, and DUMB!

Jason Goes to Hell - The Final Friday: Talk about a misleading title. I remember hearing about this when it first came out. Between the title and the poster, I was expecting Jason to die early on and spend a movie slashing his way through hordes of demons or something. Instead, we get the FBI blowing him up, some dude eating his heart, and a bunch of bullshit about prophecies and forgotten siblings. This one does have one of my favorite deaths since the first movie's arrow through the neck. This one was the tent pole through the chest followed by a bisecting. This movie may have been better without the Jason ties. I would have enjoyed a movie like this more if it didn't have anything to do with Friday the 13th. The ending was a nice segue for Freddy vs. Jason. Except, that movie wasn't made until many years and another sequel later.

Jason X: So, let me see if I get this one...Camp Crystal Lake is now a military facility. They have Jason captured. Some government asshole screws it all up. Jason is frozen. Much much later, an interplanetary field trip takes a bunch of stupid teenagers to Earth where they thaw Jason out. He kills a few. He gets stronger through nanobots. He kills some more. He is stopped. What I want to know is who the hell thought this sounded like a good idea? Because, you know, it really isn't. Even with the missing gore and nudity, i can't imagine this being much better. This is the movie that put the bullet in the brain of a suffering Jason franchise.

One side note that I have been thinking about. It is interesting how the entire series can be rolled together into a handful of smaller series. If you take parts 1-4, you get the entire story of Jason Voorhees. Parts 4-6 are the story of Jason and his nemesis Tommy Jarvis. Parts 6-8 all tie in well with the chaining in the lake bits. After that, they sort of stop even trying to tie them together beyond Jason, Crystal Lake, and the hockey mask. Personally, I feel that the first 4 or 5 movies made a perfect story arc for Jason and Tommy. Ending the series with them would have been ideal. Everything else was just pandering for more money.

Update 3/23/09
Friday the 13th (2009): So, I saw the remake/new addition. My thoughts are that it was pretty damned cool. Opening flashback gives you everything you need to know from movie #1 in one scene (the finale from the original, redone). Then you get some pretty sweet stuff going on with a new batch of idiots smoking pot and having sex, then dying horribly. All pre-credit. After this is a standard Friday plot. Brother of one of the pre-credit girls is looking for missing sister. Bunch of other teenagers go up to a cabin on the lake to be stupid teenagers. Jason comes along, tearing shit up. Nothing special with the plot. The additions are where Jason is much cooler than before. You have a Jason who runs. A Jason who is smarter than before. A Jason with a series of tunnels beneath the camp and a lot of surrounding wilderness, which he uses to get around his targets in a surprisingly effective way. Jason is so much better than he has ever been before. Sadly, the rest of the movie is a little lacking. You get some nudity, a staple. But, the gore is so missing that it was a little sad. Especially since there is some supergore teased at with a woodchipper (among other things) that is never fully realized. You get hints of what is to come, and those hints are just lies. A nice reimagining of the franchise, and one that was needed after the last few movies. But, still not as good as the originals.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quick Movie Reviews

Transformers: I had low expectations for this. I was surprised that it was actually quite good. About as much plot as you expect from a Michael Bay movie, but it is Transformers so you shouldn't expect a huge amount of plot anyhow. The robots look awesome. Some of the action was a bit too shaky to follow. Still, all in all a good movie. I was even ok with the Bumblebee change, since they threw in some fun references to the original.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Not a my favorite book in the series. In fact, this was the book i felt was the weakest of the 6 that are already out. The movie took that and made a quite enjoyable story. They managed to pull all of the good bits, left out the stuff I didn't remember anyhow, and wrapped it all up into a nice little package. They even managed to make Dolores Umbridge even more of a villain than before. I hate her, but loved the movie.

Cannibal Holocaust: This is the first movie I have received from my brand new Netflix membership. As an aside, I have already almost maxed out my movie queue after one visit to the site. I guess I really like my movies. Anyhow, this has been a sort of holy grail for me. The most vile movie I have ever heard of, and impossible to find. Banned in numerous countries. After watching it, I can see why. It is repugnant. Real animal killing on camera. Bad acting. Horrible behavior by the characters. The most realistic gore I have ever seen. I am in awe of what this movie accomplished with its limited budget, but will be happy to send this back and never think of it again.

Bridge to Terabithia: Damn. This movie is not at all like it was advertised. I was expecting some sort of fun and fluffy fantasy story. Maybe with the two normal kids having to go save the magical land. Typical stuff. Instead, it's a very nice coming of age story about two kids who are able to find friendship despite their eccentricities. Which, honestly, makes it a better movie than it would have been otherwise. Very glad I saw it, even if it did hit too close to home on a few occasions. Also, dammit if I can't stop crying after watching it.